MIAMI — A man convicted of killing two female co-workers by beating them with a hammer and setting them on fire is scheduled for execution tonight at Florida State Prison in Starke.
Robert L. Henry, 55, was sentenced to die for the November 1987 slayings of Phyllis Harris, 53, and 35-year-old Janet Thermidor, with whom he worked at the Cloth World store in Deerfield Beach. After the attacks, he stole $1,269 from the store.
Although Henry at first told police the crime was committed by an unknown assailant, Thermidor lived long enough to positively identify him as the perpetrator in a recorded statement to investigators. Broward State Attorney Michael Satz, who prosecuted the 1988 trial, told the jury that Henry had committed one of the most cold-blooded acts in recent memory.
"You talk about atrocious, heinous, cruel, vile or wicked. He literally burned them up," Satz said then. "This is a case that nightmares are made of."
Henry is scheduled to die by injection at 6 tonight. The Florida Supreme Court last week rejected his most recent appeals, including yet another challenge to the state's lethal injection.
In his latest appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Henry's lawyers cite medical experts who claim that one of the drugs used in Florida's lethal injection procedure, midazolam, could cause a heart attack and extreme pain, because
In response, the Florida attorney general's office said there is no requirement for a hearing for each inmate who claims he might suffer some level of pain in the execution process. They also noted that five death row inmates have been executed "without any mishap" using the newer drugs.
"Avoidance of all pain is not demanded by the Constitution," the state lawyers wrote.